Page directors sold shares ahead of profit warning

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The Independent Online

Two long-standing executives on the board of international recruiter Michael Page sold £2.8m of shares just weeks before they crashed to a two-year low after Monday's profit warning.

Stephen Puckett, Page's finance director for the past decade, cashed in £2.4m of shares on 17 and 18 November at an average price of 378p. Charles-Henri Dumon, managing director of continental Europe and the Americas, sold shares worth £475,700 on 15 and 16 November at an average price of 367p.

That was three weeks before Page's warning on Monday, when it flagged up signs of the eurozone slump hitting growth and said it would miss full-year profit forecasts. The warning saw the recruiter's shares slide 13 per cent to 316p at one point. They staged a partial recovery later, but still closed yesterday at just 340p.

Under Financial Services Authority Listing Rules, directors cannot deal in the 30 days before a trading statement. However, Michael Page said yesterday's announcement was unscheduled so was not covered by a closed period.

Mr Puckett set out plans to leave Page for personal reasons in July, but does not yet have a leaving date. He now owns no shares directly in the recruiter. Mr Dumon owns 605,000 shares. Michael Page declined to comment.